Central Ohio Race Fans Hope Tony Stewart Crash Brings Changes To Sport
It was the talk of the track. On Saturday night, Kevin Ward Jr. crashed following a bump with Tony Stewart in the sprint car race in Canandaigua, New York. Video showed Ward walking from his crashed car onto the racing surface as cars circled by, and, as he gestured at Stewart's passing car, the 20-year-old was struck.
"I was shocked it was very alarming," said Michelle Simon
'He shouldn't have done that," said Walt Turner.
"The guy should have stayed in his car," said Preston Banks.
"Bad decision on his part to get out of his car," said Turner.
"I say the guy should have stayed in his car. Anytime you crawl out of your race car the odds of getting hit are pretty good," said Banks.
Ward was killed when Tony Stewart ran into him under a caution flag.
Earlier in the race, Stewart had bumped Ward Jr., forcing him to crash into a wall.
"Oh my. That was no accident", said Dale Gelliarth.
Race fans were sickened when shown the the video of Ward Jr. getting hit and killed.
They questioned why a driver would walk onto a race track.
"It's a racetrack. It's like getting out of the car on the side of the road and shaking your fist at someone who just cut you off, it's not a good choice," said Gelliarth.
Geoff Nuckles is one of central Ohio's long time racetrack owners.
"We frown upon any driver walking on the race track and they are admonished to stay in their car if at all possible," he said.
His Columbus Motor Speedway is a place where sprint car drivers come to race. It was the first track to race a winged sprint car in 1958.
"They are very fast, and very tricky to drive," he said.
One of the difficulties in driving one of the sprint cars is your lack of vision. A flap nearly blocks the driver's view on the right side. That is the same side Kevin Ward approached Tony Stewart's car as Stewart made the turn.
Track owners, like Nuckles, hope this tragedy will bring about positive changes for the sport, and perhaps new rules governing drivers who climb out of their race cars.
"Maybe something good will come out of this if a driver does exit a car they'll stay near that car," he said.
Eyewitnesses have reported they heard Stewart rev his engine just before the crash.
They said Stewart's car fish-tailed, forcing his car to hit Kevin Ward Jr.
The Columbus Motor Speedway was the first track to race a winged sprint car in 1958.